Psychological Self-Help

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We, it, they statements
"I" statements
"Most people would have an affair
they wouldn't get caught."
"I would have an affair if..."
"The group isn't interested in ..."
"I don't think the group cares..."
"The glass slipped out of my
"I dropped the glass."
"People have a hard time with
"I am ashamed of my math
"The group is trying to help you."
"I want to understand you but I'm
having a hard time."
"This weather is depressing."
"I feel depressed."
"This class is boring."
"I feel bored."
The last example above, shows how our language also causes us
problems. It is important to be aware that personal opinions sound like
facts when one uses a form of "am" or "is," such as "you are...," "I
am...," "it is..." and so on. Furthermore, in addition to sounding
factual, such statements imply the whole person is a certain way and
will be forever. Example: "You are selfish" is a pronouncement which
implies that there are no unselfish traits anywhere in the person's
personality--and that the entire person will stay that way forever. This
is probably untrue; it is an over-generalization. It would be much more
accurate and effective to say, "I resent it when you make plans for the
entire family without asking what the rest of us want to do." 
When personal opinions are stated as facts, it is no wonder that
arguments arise. Note the use of "is" in this example: 
Person A: "This class is a lot of work but it contains useful
Person B: "This class is a complete waste of time."
These two people could debate the merits and faults of the class
for an hour. It could degenerate into a personal conflict, like "You're
the teacher's pet" and "You wouldn't like anything that required a
brain" and go on and on. On the other hand, if A and B had made "I"
statements there would have been no argument. 
Person A: "I really like the self-help class, especially the
Person B: "I'm disappointed in that class because I'm not
getting anything out of my group or those ridiculously long
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